Developing Intercultural Competence with OIBs, Part 5: Taking Action to Support Lasting Change

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL

Over the last 4 blog posts, we looked at OIB titles that model different characteristics of an interculturally competent person. This week we look at the desired outcome: actions that benefit all (not just the cultural majority or the people in power) and support lasting change. Children can be amazing agents for change, and the titles this week demonstrate the ways characters take action.

Our natural tendency when we look for change agents is to look at heroes. A 2019 OIB title that fits that “hero” category is Peace and Me, written by Ali Winter, illustrated by Mickael El Fathi. The book profiles many Nobel Peace Prize winners. Some are expected (e.g., Mother Teresa, Malala Yousafzai) but others are less well known (e.g., Jean Henry Dunant, Fridtjof Nansen, Rigoberta Menchu Tum). Each one worked diligently to bring peace in their area of the world. However, this week the focus is more on kids who are not known as heroes and the action that they take, believing that they can have an impact on their world. Continue reading

Explore Imagination through Outstanding International Book Characters

By Janelle Mathis, University of North Texas

Imagination in its many forms is present in much of children’s and young adult literature just as it is in “real” life. It can help us deal with situations that are seemingly beyond our control, express ourselves in authentic ways through other sign systems, create practical solutions to everyday needs or desires, position ourselves in other contexts as we work to understand other perspectives and eras and add an enjoyable fantasy element to our lives. I always enjoy revisiting the following quote: “Imagining possibilities is at the core of understanding other people, other times, and other places” (Wilhelm and Edmiston, 1998, p. 4). I also am reminded of Frank Smith’s idea (1992) that imagination makes reality possible (1992). So, while there are many ways to celebrate imagination in children’s literature, I would like to share, from the 2019 (published in English in 2018) OIB list, a few very basic examples of children using imagination in seemingly simplistic ways. I believe that these are the seeds that can grow into more complex uses of imagination as children grow into creative and responsible adults.

Cover for Stories of the Night by Kitty Crowther Continue reading